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USAF plans ARTS-V3 for aerial denial threat replication

US Air Force Air Combat Command (USAF/ACC) is shaping its requirements for a new digital active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar threat system to support future air warfare training needs for addressing advancing adversary air-defence radars.

Known as the Advanced Radar Threat System-Variant 3 (ARTS-V3), the capability is initially being designed to replicate the characteristics of long-range, X-band (8–11 GHz) surface-to-air missile (SAM) guidance and illumination radars.

According to a request for information (RFI), posted in January but not reported until now, the USAF/ACC is planning to release a request for proposal (RFP) as early as mid-2022 with the objective of having a production representative article (PRA) completed and delivered by July 2025.

ARTS-V3 – also referred to as the Variable Aperture Digital Radar (VADR) – was conceived as a long-range, high-power SAM radar simulator to replicate threats at the fidelity necessary to test and train fifth- and sixth-generation platforms and stress their electronic warfare (EW) systems. As such, the system will create a relevant combat training threat system that is both dynamic and reconfigurable, and representative of a modern anti-access area denied environment with highly reactive threat systems that provide immediate feedback to aircrews.

Featuring a fully functioning AESA and a flexible software-based back end to enable different multitrack, multi-engage systems to be replicated, the ARTS-V3 system is intended to provide threat representative full-effective radiated power, replicate threat signals/waveforms, antenna patterns, antenna polarisation, operational modes, threat tactic capabilities, and reactivity. It is also being designed as a modular system with growth capability to add future advanced SAM threats, and to be able to integrate into future live-virtual-constructive engagements.

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